2019 All-Fantasy Football Teams

By: Joe Pohoryles

Every year, millions of people play fantasy sports. Whether it’s daily fantasy or season-long, fantasy sports serve as a means for friends and family to bond over sports in an engaging, exciting, yet often disappointing way. Whether you win your league championship or fail to win a single match-up, fantasy sports provides a fun way to watch games.

The 2019 NFL season marks my 10th season playing fantasy football. I’ve appeared in two championship games, winning one of them, back in 2015. I’ve been able to root for all-time greats, like Randy Moss, as well as current superstars like Christian McCaffrey, giving me something fun in football to distract from dismal Redskins seasons.

Since 2016, I’ve constructed my picks for All-Fantasy teams, similar to the All-Pro teams we see in the real NFL. Fantasy football is entirely based on statistics, so differentiating the good from the great is fairly easy, but I don’t stick to the simple rankings based on total points scored. It’s the players who put up consistently great numbers week to week that are truly fantasy football All Stars. Would you rather have a player who, through four games, scores 35, 5, 24, and 7, or a player who puts up 17, 21, 16, and 13?

Personally, I want a player like the latter, someone who I can consistently rely on to put up double-digit points, with potential for a big-time game rather than a player like the former who, while capable of monster performances, cannot be trusted due to several lackluster scores that can cost you an entire match-up. In this scenario, Player A scored 71 points through four weeks, while Player B put up 67. Under standard ranking systems, Player A would be ranked above Player B, but is he really the better player?

This is why I don’t trust the point-total rankings and try to look at the context. I even came up with my own adjusted points per game metric to eliminate outlier performances in an effort to determine who the best week-to-week players are. It’s a fairly simple process, and hardly advanced analytics, but I believe it’s a good indicator.

Here’s how it works:

  • I count the player’s scores from Weeks 1-16. Most fantasy seasons end in Week 16, as many starters on NFL playoff teams sit out Week 17.
  • Factoring in the bye week, a player who plays every game in a fantasy season will have 15 games.
  • I then look for their two highest-scoring performances and two lowest-scoring performances, and throw them away.
  • This adjusted point total is then averaged out among the remaining games (i.e. four games removed from a 15-game player will have their new total averaged out across 11 games. 14-game players will be averaged out across 10, and so on).
  • In close cases, I also took into account who posted fewer single-digit games, more 20-plus/30-plus point games, etc.
  • These new averages paint a picture of who truly was the best, most consistent player. It eliminates the outliers, both high and low, without compromising the sample size.

I did not base my rankings solely on my adjusted PPG metric, as more context is necessary in many cases. For example, New York Giants’ stud running back Saquon Barkley’s adjusted PPG was 16.69, while Jacksonville Jaguars’ bruiser Leonard Fournette posted 15.94 points per game. As you’ll see, Fournette earned Third Team honors, while Barkley is honorable mention. Why? Fournette played all 15 games, while Barkley played 12. Staying healthy is important, and the margin between these two averages is not large enough to justify Barkley being placed above Fournette.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this is purely based on fantasy football performance across the 2019 season. This is NOT my opinion of the best players in football. Sticking with the Barkley/Fournette comparison, if the Redskins could pick either one to join the team straight-up, disregarding contract considerations, I’d take Barkley 10 times out of 10. The fact of the matter is, for the 2019 fantasy football season, Fournette was slightly better.

Without further ado, here are The Wildcard‘s official 2019 All-Fantasy Football teams. Along with the traditional First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention, I have an All-Breakout team, honoring the players who burst on to the scene this season, an All-Bust team, consisting of the players who disappointed the most this season, and several others. (Note: These rankings are based on the PPR format).

First Team All-Fantasy

QB: Lamar Jackson, Bal

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Car*

RB: Dalvin Cook, Min

WR: Michael Thomas, NO

WR: Chris Godwin, TB

TE: Travis Kelce, KC

Flex (RB): Austin Ekeler, LAC

Flex (WR): Deandre Hopkins, Hou

D/ST: Patriots, NE

K: Harrison Butker, KC

*Fantasy MVP: Despite the breakout of dual-threat phenom Lamar Jackson, and the insane record-breaking season Michael Thomas put up in New Orleans, Christian McCaffrey is the 2019 Fantasy MVP. Jackson and Thomas are easily the best of their respective positions, but McCaffrey was worlds above the next best running backs, which tends to be the most valuable position in fantasy.

McCaffrey’s adjusted points per game was an astounding 30.30. He put up single-digits just once, in Week 2, but was otherworldly the rest of the season. The next best adjusted PPG for running backs belonged to Dalvin Cook with 21.23, well ahead of the rest of the pack, but still NINE whole points behind McCaffrey. McCaffrey even bested Jackson, who had 28.28 adjusted PPG, despite quarterbacks being the highest-scoring position. Lamar may be the NFL MVP, but the fantasy title belongs solely to McCaffrey.

Second Team All-Fantasy:

QB: Deshaun Watson, Hou

RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Dal

RB: Aaron Jones, GB

WR: Julio Jones, Atl

WR: Julian Edelman, NE

TE: George Kittle, SF

Flex (RB): Derrick Henry, Ten

Flex (WR): Allen Robinson II, Chi

D/ST: Steelers, Pit

K: Wil Lutz, NO

Third Team All-Fantasy

QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC

RB: Leonard Fournette, Jac

RB: Alvin Kamara, NO

WR: Kenny Golladay, Det

WR: Cooper Kupp, LAR

TE: Austin Hooper, Atl

Flex (RB): Chris Carson, Sea

Flex (WR): Mike Evans, TB

D/ST: 49ers, SF

K: Matt Gay, TB

Honorable Mention:

QB- Dak Prescott, Dal; Russell Wilson, Sea; Josh Allen, Buf; Jameis Winston, TB

RB – Nick Chubb, Cle; Saquon Barkley, NYG; Mark Ingram II, Bal

WR – DJ Moore, Car; Devante Parker, Mia; Amari Cooper, Dal; Keenan Allen, LAC

TE – Zach Ertz, Phi; Darren Waller, Oak; Mark Andrews, Bal

D/ST – Ravens, Bal; Vikings, Min

K – Justin Tucker, Bal

All-Bust Team

QB: Baker Mayfield, Cle

RB: David Johnson, Ari

RB: Damien Williams, KC

WR: Odell Beckham, Jr., Cle

WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit

TE: OJ Howard, TB

D/ST: Bears, Chi

K: Adam Vinatieri, Ind

All-Breakout Team

QB: Lamar Jackson, Bal

RB: Austin Ekeler, LAC

RB: Aaron Jones, GB

WR: Chris Godwin, TB

WR: Devante Parker, Mia

TE: Austin Hooper, Atl

Flex (RB): Miles Sanders, Phi

Flex (WR): DJ Chark Jr., Jac

D/ST: 49ers, SF

K: Matt Gay, TB

All-Injured Team

QB: Drew Brees, NO

RB: James Conner, Pit

RB: Jordan Howard, Phi

WR: Tyreek Hill, KC

WR: Davante Adams, GB

TE: Austin Hooper, Atl

K: Stephen Gostkowski, NE

All-Rookie Team

QB: Kyler Murray, Ari

RB: Miles Sanders, Phi

RB: Josh Jacobs, Oak

WR: A.J. Brown, Ten

WR: Terry McLaurin, Wsh

TE: Noah Fant, Den

K: Matt Gay, TB

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